Introduced by Natalie North
Islands are place of constant ebb and flow. The tide moves back and forth across the sandy beaches, turning rocks and pebbles over in its gentle hands, or thrashing them against the shore when the sea breeze whirls into a storm. There is a flux of people, in and out: tourists and locals, the welcome and the unwelcome. Every islander is a part of this thrumming hive – part of this constant flow, through time and space.
So how do you create art that embraces and reflects this constant change? That is the challenge that Andy Goldsworthy took on in Alderney.
After spending much time in Alderney and the surrounding Channel Islands, Goldsworthy came up with a multi-piece artwork that would react and change in space and time in much the same way the island itself does.
The installation is comprised of a series of rammed-earth boulders that each have items from the island compacted inside them. The stones are installed in different locations across Alderney, and this in itself is an important part of the life of the piece. The stones were designed to gradually disintegrate over time, releasing their contents, and the location of the stone affects the speed at which this occurs.
The gradual reshaping and disintegration of the stones allows them to not only mirror the ebb and flow of the island but also to become a part of it. Peter Frankland from the Guernsey Press said it best when he wrote:
“Whatever you may think of the project, it struck me that there could be no better place for it than here. On an island seemingly lost in time, where old German bunkers and 19th century forts slowly decay side by side, the stones have truly become part of the island landscape.”
You can see from the way the stones sit in their respective locations that they have really found their place, and perhaps also that the place has found them. When Andy Goldsworthy talks about the piece, this ‘from the island, for the island’ ethos is clear.
“I didn’t want to do something pretty” he said; “Alderney is beautiful, but not pretty. As an artist I have to respond to what I find”.
The movements of islands are infectious, and while Andy Goldsworthy has certainly had an impact on the landscape of Alderney, it is clear that he took something away with him as well.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Alderney” he has said. “I’ve learnt a lot from this project and I’m going to learn even more in the future. My art has been taken in a direction that I have not previously enjoyed and I think that’s indicative of an island like this – a place that is creative and provokes art. This is not a place that I’ve just brought sculptures to. This place has made these works; these works have come out of this place, out of the island.”
Click on any of the thumbnails below to view the full-size gallery.
Most of the photographs in this gallery were taken by Rachel C Kremer. For more information and photos of the Alderney Stones (including all image credits) please visit: www.alderneystones.com.
Natalie North lives in Guernsey and works for the Art and Islands Foundation, which brings international artists to the Channel Islands and promotes them as a cultural art destination. Natalie's blog can be found here.
Rachel C Kremer is a UK-based photographer with a love of film cameras, folk music and island-hopping. Her website can be found here.